rose, cardamom & pistachio cake

Some people deserve happiness, smiles, and cake. Definitely cake. Actually, a cake such as this is a pretty good way to tell someone that they rock. This one in particular was made for my nearest & dearest Clio…. the girl is leaving me! What can I say? She’s off to go be incredibly talented in London…. I’m a little jealous since she has just enrolled in an incredible pastry school & I just know she’s going to rock their socks off.

Clio my darling, making this for you was an absolute pleasure & I am so happy that you enjoyed it.


….oh, & a couple words about the cake wouldn’t be a half bad idea. The cake has a very middle-eastern flair & flavor to it that is completely delicious. If you find that the texture of the semolina is just a little too out there for your taste-buds, try substituting it with flour instead. The same can be done for the yogurt in the icing, mascarpone makes a wonderful substitution that takes away the sourness that the yogurt can sometimes add.

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honey, dark chocolate & lavender tart

lavender & chocolate tart

Right, we actually had a five course meal planned out for that Sunday we cooked at our friend Marina’s house. Did I mention about the Sunday? I don’t remember to be honest.

So far, we’ve shared the baked brie, we’ve also shared the stuffed portobello mushrooms. We’re still missing the fresh herb butter served on steak & the cherry tomato tart. I’m waiting for mel to re-make the butter though because the pictures were awful & made it look completely unappetizing. And mel is throwing a tantrum & refusing to post the cherry tomato tart…… much to my dismay & protestation. I’ve tried reasoning with him, pleading, yelling, threatening to kick him off the blog entirely. It’s so not happening.

What this means is that we’re skipping two courses & moving straight to dessert. I’d normally be happy about this… but you guys didn’t taste how good the other two courses were. And my photographs for the cherry tomatoes! SO BEAUTIFUL! Yea, I’m irritated.

He’s stubborn though & I’m full of empty threats.

The tart is pretty damned good though. I’m only sorry I’ve spent the whole time talking about other items.

For those of you unfamiliar with lavender, it’s that flower people usually dry & put in with their clothes to make them smell nice. Or found in creams. Essential oils. Stuff that generally smells divine. Not usually something people cook with though. At least not often. It is amazingly delicious however & in this case a perfect accent for the dark chocolate.

I had seen tis recipe on another blog that has fantastic food photography. I mean FANTASTIC food photography, & I was so head over heals smitten with the writers images that I decided to recreate a version of the recipe for myself. John compared this to eating laundry detergent…. I’m not sure he knows what he was talking about. Everyone else loved it. At least that’s what they said. Maybe they weren’t being honest?

Judge for yourselves.

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traditional pumpkin pie

I’ve got two sets of pictures for everyone today. The first was the pumpkin pie I made at home for mel & I. Pretty standard, nothing too out of the ordinary.

The second time I made this though, was for an order at work. Now, I know the first pie looks pretty, but at the bakery I don’t want things to just look pretty, I want them to look professional. This is why I did something funky with the crust. Shame I didn’t have a proper camera with me for it. Still, the basic recipe is exactly the same. The only real difference here, is that the second pie shell took me double the time to assemble, was completely worth it though. Unfortunately I wasn’t around to see the customers face, but my boss gave me some pretty good feed back.

Here you can see the assembly of the shell, not too complicated. Below is what it looked like filled & baked.

Pretty neat huh?

– nickey

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spiced chai latte cupcakes, even better than the drink

I’m not entirely certain as to why, but this spiced chai latte cupcake makes me think of my cousins. Maybe it’s that coffee dates were always better with Amyra around. Or that Peanut can be a little cranky before her caffeine in the morning. Maybe it’s that the combination of spices make me think of the holidays which never feel quite right without the girls around. Whatever the case may be, I’m feeling home sick. (and by home I mean wherever my cousins are, because they are home).

I made these at the bakery the other day for the first time, they were so much more beautiful there because of the icing tips I was able to find. When I went to re-create them at home for our luncheon last Sunday with Mel, Alexandra & Michalis, the only tips I could find were shallow closed stars. Still, none of that changed the indisputable yumminess of them ultimately.

All these holidays coming up (halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, boxing day, new years), plus the changing of seasons means an unlimited pool of ideas with which to try. I’ve been spending my days making lists of things I want to make for the bakery & getting more & more excited with every recipe I pour through.

Pretty soon here I’m going to be one of those annoying people who wants to start her christmas decorating in October. I’m being deadly serious here… things are headed that way if I keep looking into all these decorating ideas!

One step & one recipe at a time though… like spiced chai latte cupcakes. That’s right, it’s like that warm delicious drink you get only it’s in a single serving cake… and better.

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kid (goat) stew

Yesterday was not my day in the kitchen. Not at all. To make matters worse, Mel was perfectly on form. I know I should be happy that he’s getting it all right, but at the end of the day I’m competitive. In the presence of my failure, his success stings all the more. He made this fabulous kid stew, and by kid, I mean goat. Not actual kids, that would be wrong.

We were sitting there trying to assemble the dish & eating as we were arranging. I could barely take a picture of it all before we managed to inhale every bite. Sitting there salivating over the tender meat. It was ridiculous. As I was savoring every enormous mouthful (whilst at the same time trying to eat quickly so as to have a few before Mel downed it all, I was secretly swearing at him under my breath. It’s not fair.

I attempted to make myself feel better of course by telling myself that baking is chemistry whereas cooking you can just throw things in the pot & correct as you go along, but even that didn’t help.
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